Arriving to the city on Friday, we immediately went to the museum. We were in a hurry to gain access to Quiriguá Altar L, because the piece was set to be on loan to a museum in Toronto and would not be available after this week for our team to digitize. Using our structured light 3D scanners, our team quickly documented this stone monument, capturing all of the finely carved details and morphology of the piece.
Saturday was spent driving out of Guatemala City arriving at Quiriguá in the afternoon. After getting settled into our accommodations, the DHHC team did a brief tour of the site before sundown. Sunday morning began our first day of scanning and working at the site, and we spent much of the day with reconnaissance, planning, and gathering initial data. Oswaldo Gomez, the Director of the Quiriguá site, is our collaborator on this project, and is serving as a co-Principal investigator. He has organized a team from Guatemala that is helping with logistics and site preparation- including some clearing of vegetation, revealing portions of the site not in decades. The Guatemalan crew is helping our team with assembling shade tarps and providing the scaffolding that are imperative for best documentation using the structured light 3D scanning instruments for the documentation of monuments.
Data acquisition with our structured light scanners on this first day, included work at the ornately carved Stela A. Because we have multiple scanners, we were able to simultaneously work across different areas of the site, and complete the sub-millimetric digitization one of the more challenging carvings in the round – Zoomorph O – and the associated Altar O. Data from these monuments will be post processed and include texture mapped images and color detail. We will next move to Stela C, Zoomorph P, and Altar P, as part of our prioritization of sculpture documentation.
We have also begun to 3D map the terrain features at Quiriguá using terrestrial LiDAR instruments, including a phase shift FARO Focus scanner, and the new hybrid Time of Flight scanner from Leica – the RTC360. We are combining our ground-based survey efforts with structure from motion photogrammetry techniques (SfM) that use a drone- based platform for acquisition. We are also using GPS to establish ground control. Our drone-based survey so far has included extended periods of pre-programed flights for the coverage of the core area and including an extension into the surrounding environs.
This project involves extensive public interaction and outreach, and our in-country project logistics cooperator, Felipe Guzman, has been indispensable in helping promote the project to the visitors. Guzman has also been assisting with communications and partnership development. The project success is owed largely to our connections through Felipe and we are grateful for his friendship, interest, and love of archaeology.